Afton Vechery has worked at the intersection of healthcare and technology her whole career, both in private equity and in the startup world, having launched three companies focused on women’s health.
Still, when the San Francisco-based entrepreneur went to have her fertility tested at a clinic, she was shocked by the $1,500 bill she received.
Even for someone relatively plugged in, fertility services can be mystifying and anxiety-inducing, as well as expensive.
In fall 2016, Vechery left her job as product manager at genetic testing company 23AndMe and teamed up with Carly Leahy, who’d just developed UberHEALTH, the transport giant’s flu shot delivery program.
This Wednesday, the two launched Modern Fertility, a women’s health company that aims to democratize and simplify fertility testing by offering $149 at-home tests — the first of their kind, according to Vechery and Leahy.
The startup has raised $1 million to build out its team, led by First Round Capital with participation from Box Group, Y Combinator, and angel investors.
Women nationwide can pre-order Modern Fertility tests now for shipment later in the year. Each kit is delivered in discreet packaging; physicians review finger-prick blood samples, measuring up to 10 fertility hormones and mapping ovarian reserve (that is, how many eggs a woman has left).
The company adds a layer of interpretation to each customer’s lab results, with a fertility score letting a woman know how many fertile years she has ahead of her.
“We view this as a public health issue,” said Vechery, who noted that doctors she consulted in her research said women wait too long, on average, to freeze their eggs. “Every woman should have this information.”
Leahy hopes Modern Fertility’s tests encourage women to start paying as regular attention to their fertility as they do other aspects of reproductive health.
“We get a Pap smear every year just because we’re supposed to,” she said. “But something as personal as fertility is just, ‘wait and see.’ It should be something you check in on every year.”
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